Deceuninck double down; Hosking and McLay win at Sun Tour: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Deceuninck-QuickStep aren’t happy with Iljo Keisse’s ejection from the Vuelta a San Juan; Alaphilippe and Evenepoel impress on the bike; Gaviria fastest man in Argentina; Hosking and McLay win at Phillip Island. These stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Deceuninck double down

Following Iljo Keisse’s suspension from Vuelta a San Juan for disrespectful behaviour, Deceuninck-QuickStep have come out swinging, with manager Patrick Lefevere threatening to pull his entire team out of the Vuelta a San Juan and the team’s star riders skipping the podium presentations.

“If it was up to me, the whole team would leave the Vuelta a San Juan,” Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws. “We are reviewing the UCI regulations, then we will quickly decide whether we will start or not.”

The incident in question, which occurred last Friday, saw Keisse stand behind an 18-year-old woman in a cafe and feign a sexual act as a photo was taken. The woman, who worked as a waitress in the cafe and has not been named, has claimed that Keisse brushed his genitals against her, which Keisse has denied. She filed a police complaint with the San Juan police, and Keisse was fined 3000 pesos (€70). The race organisers asked Keisse to leave the race following the third stage.

Lefevere reacted angrily to the disqualification of his rider, and accused the woman of seeking compensation.

“Of course, I am not happy with the pose of Iljo,” he said. “It was wrong, and he knows that himself. But he paid a €70 fine and the police closed the case. And yet, that woman continues to make something of it. She will want money, right?”

Although the team lined up on stage four, Julian Alaphilippe – the race leader – and Remco Evenepoel – best young rider – seemingly boycotted the podium presentation as a gesture of solidarity for Keisse. The riders also avoided talking to the press following the stage.

A team spokesperson denied it was a protest action, saying that the riders were tired and lacking sleep as a result of the controversy. “I hope they understand how much stress we have had,” the spokesperson said.

Insert eye-roll emoji here.

Race Radio

Alaphilippe’s fine form continues

After taking the win on the second stage of the Vuelta a San Juan with a late solo attack, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) has shown that was no fluke by following it with a stage win in the 12km ITT the next day.

“Yesterday I was really surprised to go all the way to the finish and win that way, it made me really happy. Today was really different, this was 12km totally flat. It’s not my favourite terrain, but I was second in GC and so you never know, I had to give it everything,” Alaphilippe said.

Alaphilippe’s teammate, 19-year-old phenomenon Remco Evenepoel, produced a stunning performance to lead the ITT before slipping to third by stage’s end.

“I didn’t expect to be third already, I was hoping for a top 10, but third is amazing,” Evenepoel said.

Gaviria outsprints Sagan in Argentina

On stage 4 of the Vuelta a San Juan, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) narrowly pipped Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) with a bike throw to claim his second stage win of the race.

Race leader Julian Alaphilippe led the peloton into the finish, trying to set a win up for his team-mates, but Gaviria’s speedy kick and a strong leadout by his well-drilled leadout train was enough to ensure the Colombian came out on top.

After sweltering through intense heat, the peloton will enjoy a deserved rest day before the race resumes with a decisive mountain stage on Friday.

Hosking sprints to Sun Tour win

The opening stage of the Women’s Herald Sun Tour ended in a reduced bunch sprint on Wednesday with Chloe Hosking (Ale-Cipollini) taking victory ahead of Rachele Barbieri (BePink) and Lotta Lepisto (Trek-Segafredo). Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) led solo for 15 of the 22 laps around the Phillip Island GP circuit before being caught on the penultimate lap.

Photo: Con Chronis

A group of eight split off the front of the bunch in the final lap, with all of the main sprinters making it out front.

“Yeah I am [thrilled], particularly because I feel like it was a really big team effort,” Hosking said of her win. “I get a lot of satisfaction out of seeing all the girls contribute to the win and I think we can take a lot of confidence from that going forward to Europe.”

After her stage win and bonus time at the first intermediate sprint, Hosking leads the Sun Tour by 5 seconds ahead of tomorrow’s second and final stage.

Follow the link for full results from stage 1 of the 2019 Women’s Herald Sun Tour.

McLay draws first blood at Phillip Island

Photo: Con Chronis

Dan McLay (EF Education First) will wear the first leader’s jersey of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour after winning the stage 1 bunch sprint on Wednesday.

The 97.3km stage comprised 22 laps of the Phillip Island GP circuit and, despite several breakaway groups getting clear throughout, the stage ended in a bunch sprint. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Sky) was second and Wouter Wippert (EvoPro) was third.

“I’ve been coming up against a brick wall for the last week at [Tour] Down Under,” McLay said. “But I think I soaked all that racing up and came out with a bit of form and I had the bit between the teeth and the boys did an excellent job.

“Mitch Docker, Tom Scully — Mitch kept us out of the wind around the last corner, Tom gave us a bit of speed. I just had to hang on for the line. I’m just really happy to get the season off the ground.”

The five-stage Sun Tour continues tomorrow with a tough stage from Wonthaggi to Churchill. McLay will wear the leader’s yellow jersey but will likely struggle to retain it thanks to a steep climb that peaks roughly 11km from the finish.

Follow the link for full results from stage 1 of the 2019 Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Breck Epic steps up

Organizers of the 11th annual Breck Epic, a six-day mountain-bike stage race held in Breckenridge, Colorado, announced Wednesday that the event will be a UCI Class 1 event in 2019. The August 11-16 event will offer a minimum cash purse of $30,000 and UCI points to participants in the elite men’s and women’s fields.

“We’re going to use modern technology to communicate the drama of a high-altitude, multi-day stage race to a worldwide audience in real time and in high definition,” said race director Mike McCormack. “Aligning with the UCI attracts the world’s fastest riders. We’re going to pit them against each other on a supremely stunning race course.”

Tweet of the day

Moving Pictures

Chasing Parma

A two-day gravel ride through the beautiful, remote Victorian Alps.

Not your normal bike launch video:

How better to launch a new bike than an extended monologue from Christopher Walken?

Happy Birthday to …

Richie Porte, who celebrated his 34th birthday at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

Magnus Bäckstedt (44), winner of the 2004 Paris-Roubaix.

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Richie Porte, birthday boy at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. Photo: Con Chronis

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